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More and More Polls Show Good News for Republicans

Carolyn Kaster

As we get closer and closer to the midterm elections and a likely red wave, several polls have come out in recent days, and they almost all show hopeful news for Republicans. Multiple polls were released on Wednesday, six days before the election, some of the last generic Congressional ballot polls released before Election Day.

One such poll released on Wednesday, from NPR/PBS NewsHour/Marist Poll, which mentions polling 1,586 adults, also thankfully included 1,469 registered voters. The NPR write-up from Domenico Montanaro highlights in the headline that "Key GOP groups are more fired up to vote in midterms than Democrats, NPR poll finds." This has been consistent among several polls. 

The write-up helpfully includes a chart showing the enthusiasm of various groups. It's not just Republicans who are more likely to say they are "very interested" to vote as opposed to Democrats, though they are, at 84 percent to 68 percent, respectively. 

Those in the "Lean Republican" category include the 87 percent of Baby Boomers who say they are "very interested," as well as 80 percent of Trump voters, 79 percent of white evangelical Christians, the 78 perfect of white men who are college educated, the 76 percent of white men who have no college education, the 75 percent of rural voters, the 70 percent of white women with no college education, and the 66 percent of overall voters who have no college education.

While the poll shows that those who "Lean Democratic" include 86 percent of white women who are college educated and are "very interested," that's about their one hope when it comes to numbers as high as "Lean Republican" voting groups.  For instance, just 67 percent of city voters say the same, as do 59 percent of those with an annual income of less than $50,000, the 58 percent of Latino voters, the 55 percent of black voters, and the 52 perfect of Gen Z/Millennial voters.

When it comes to some of these groups, though, it's also worth pointing out that Latino voters have been shifting away from the Democratic Party which has taken them for granted, especially in specific races. This includes in the Florida gubernatorial race where Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis is very likely to win reelection, and in Nevada's Senate race where Sen. Catherine Cortez (D-NV) is a particularly vulnerable incumbent who could very well lose her seat. 

Younger voters, who aren't likely to vote to begin with, also have a particularly low regard of President Joe Biden, with just 10 percent of voters under age 40 saying they strongly support him. This is according to an online poll from the University of Chicago’s Gen Forward Survey Project. 

As Montanaro's write-up mentioned about the groups and enthusiasm levels:

Democrats are also losing ground on the generic congressional ballot test. That's when pollsters ask who a respondent would vote for if the election were held today, a Republican or Democrat. 

In this survey, it's tied 46%-46% — and that tends to be bad news for Democrats. Historically, they have needed a substantial lead on that question to do well in the House, because of how districts are drawn and with swing districts largely in right-leaning places.

This does not include those who "definitely plan" to vote, where Republicans enjoy a greater advantage. As a press release from Marist notes about the poll:

The Republicans running for Congress (49%) now edge their Democratic rivals (46%) among those who say they definitely plan to vote in this month’s midterm elections. In October, the Democrats (48%) edged the Republicans (45%) by three points. Among registered voters, the Democratic (46%) and Republican (46%) congressional candidates are tied. The Democrats (46%) were +2 points over the Republicans (44%) last month.

A graph shows the shift of Democratic support going down, while it goes up for Republicans. 

Another finding of this poll, consistent with others, is that inflation is the top concern for respondents, with 36 percent of registered voters choosing that issue as "top of mind for you when you think about voting in this November ́s election."

Republicans, as Montanaro highlighted in his write-up, have a double digit lead when it comes to trust on the issues of inflation, crime, and immigration. They have a lead of +20 on inflation, +16 on crime, and +12 on immigration. Those are top issues for Republican respondents.

The largest lead the Democrats have is a +14 on the abortion issue, which is the third most important issue for registered voters, at 14 percent.

Such a poll was conducted October 24-27. Among all 1,586 adult respondents there was a margin of error of plus or minus 3.8 percentage points, and a margin of error of plus or minus of 3.7 percentage points among the 1,469 registered voters.

The result of the Quinnipiac University poll, also released on Wednesday, had a similar headline: "Concerns About Inflation Rise Heading Into The Midterms, Quinnipiac University National Poll Finds; Republicans Have Edge In Enthusiasm To Vote." That poll also looked to adults as well as registered voters

Among registered voters, Biden's approval rating is back in the 30s, with just 37 percent approving, while 54 percent disapprove. Quinnipiac University Polling Analyst Tim Malloy is quoted as warning that "Wallowing in negative territory, Biden's approval number offers little solace to his party as he barnstorms the country trying to rally voters behind Democratic midterm candidates." When it comes to Biden's campaigning for Democrats recently, to say "he barnstorms" may be putting it quite politely. 

Just as the NPR/Marist poll above showed, inflation is indeed a major issue for voters. This poll shows it being one even more strongly, with 37 percent of registered saying it's the top issue. That's an increase of 10 percentage points from August. Malloy is quoted as emphasizing the issue as well. "What issue concerns Americans most? It's not even close. Inflation: the price of putting food on the table, paying for gas at the pump and the diminishing value of the money they earn runs away with the ranking," he said. 

On the issue of voter enthusiasm, although it's not by double digits between Republicans versus Democrats as it was with the poll above, it's still a significant 9 percentage point difference. Overall, 52 percent of registered voters are "more motivated to vote than usual." This includes 60 percent of Republican registered voters, while only as slight majority of Democratic registered voters, at 51 percent say as much. 

Even more hopeful is how many pollsters have reflected this red wave, with results showing a shift towards Republicans on the generic ballot.

Even the Economist/YouGov poll, which shows a tie of 49 percent of likely voters supporting both Democrats and Republicans, this too is a shift in favor of Republicans.

Not all polls have gotten on board, though. The Morning Consult/POLITICO poll, which surveyed registered voters rather than likely voters, shows Democrats actually have an edge of 5 percentage points on the congressional generic ballot, of 47 percent to 42 percent. 

RealClearPolitics (RCP) shows Republicans with a +3.0 lead. The above poll is one of the few to show a Democratic lead, as most show a Republican lead. 

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